Chapter 261

Chapter 261

Silence filled the rundown bar, the slow breathing of the group and the pained grunts and whimpering of those still being held hostage the only sound. Arthur noted more shadows filtering in from the back doorway, his Enhanced Eyesight allowing him to pick them out without an issue. Uswah would have been even better in here, he thought idly, then dismissed it.

Not the time for shoulda, woulda, coulda.

"You've got guts," Kim, the tiny mob boss with the scarred and sneering face said. "But then, they said as much."

"They?" Arthur asked, though he had a guess.

"Guey Ying. You got a price on your head, you know. It's a rather pretty face too," Kim said, idly. She released the cup, tracing a line across her cheek where the scar was. "Shame to mess it up."

"That's not a problem, I heal well." Arthur inclined his head to where a tickle of blood was running down where Eric's blade pressed into the man's neck from underneath. "Can't say the same for the rest of your people."

"We heard." She smirked. "Clan seal, right?"

"Yes. One of the perks," Arthur said. A weird side-discussion, but he wasn't going to lead them away. She might be buying time to position more of her people, but at this point, he figured she'd have enough to drown them in bodies anyway. So better to see where they were going, especially since he really did just want to talk. "There's a few more too."

"Oh? More than healing?"

"Allies for one thing," Arthur said, smiling slightly. "People like the Chin's. Or the 66. You might have heard."

"Or the Thorned Lotuses." 


"Tak mention," Kim said. "You ashamed working with girls ah?"

"Heh. You should see my party." He shrugged. "More they aren't that many here."

Silence then, as Kim stared at him. He met her gaze fearlessly, their standoff broken moments later as Stabby shifted a little and Mel shoved down, hard, to hold him in place, causing him to whimper. Kim looked at him, then at the other standing on his tiptoes trying to get away from the knife pressed against his neck and finally, towards Arthur's hand on the back of the chair. The one he'd concentrated the Refined Exploding Energy Dart on, though it should have been invisible. Unless she had a technique...

"Ok-lah. Let's talk." She gestured at the two being held captive. "Let them go. We cakap."

"After you call off your others," Arthur said, immediately.

Eyes narrowed in thought, before she nodded to whistle guy. He blew a series of short notes and once again, commottion began. Arthur idly noted that the shadows in the backdoor didn't disappear, but relaxed and nodded for the two captives to be released when Rick, returning from checking the front door gave a thumbsup.

Some compromises had to be made after all.

"Sit," Kim said, when her people had been released. "Let's talk."

Arthur took his seat, pushing back a little so he had enough space to move if needed. Kim watched all this with bland interest before raising a hand and waving at the bartender. He brought over a mug of alcohol, that same fermented drink that made Arthur's eyes water just being close to it. 

"So. How much?" Arthur said.

"You can't just masuk sini, ask for them  and then act get away with it, you know," Kim said. "Kamu buat ini, sangat masalah lah untuk aku."

"Yeah, it's a problem," Arthur said. "I tried to make this easy."

"Ini easy ah?"

"It is for me," Arthur said. He gestured backwards to his friends. "You might have realised, we weren't exactly being trained to be diplomats."

"Good fighters though." 

"Yes." Arthur tapped the side of the mug before him. "So, what's it going to take?"

Kim leaned back and turned her head from side-to-side, taking in the rest of the Suey Tong.  More than a few looked upset at his group, a few ready to start the fight again. Arthur could not blame them, he felt it too, the agitation that came from the flood of adrenaline. Hit guys worst than women, at least at the start. Women adrenalized slower than men, took longer to dump out. It was why - partly at least - that Kim hadn't moved, being able to think rather than just act.

Also why she was keeping her hands on the mug now, as the excess adrenaline looked for a place to exit. Arthur was feeling it a little too, though only a trickle. Too damn many years fighting in the sparring rings, regulating his breathing, regulating his emotions and then, on top of all that, the Yin Body? He only really adrenalised and got on when things went bad. 

And this was far from bad.

"Your healing technique," she said, eventually, surprising him.

"Pardon?" Arthur said.

"You give us a copy of your healing technique."

"Shiiiit." Arthur ended up inclining his head. "Good call." And it really was, after all the addition of a single technique, especially one that they could pass on if he handed it to them in a physical format like that, was well worth giving up two good leg breakers. Even ones trained by his tsifu.

"Then, you'll have it to me?" Kim said.

"I can get you a copy, single use." 

"Tak boleh. Satu physical copy, handed to me."

"We can..." Arthur said, then leaned forward. "However, do you know how the passing of my healing techniques work through the Clan?"

"Yalah apa?"

"So, here's the thing. I have a technique that's available for me. That passes on to the Clan. They get a lower powered version," he sumrised easily. "But me? I got not much going on right now, you know. Decent, but I can't replace missing limbs. Just heal things. Can't fix scars. Or eyes." Leaned forward and tapped his left foot which was still missing a portion of it, healed over and scabbed though it might be. It still messed with his movement a little, forced him to stuff a bit of padding into his new boots. Unenchanted too, which sucked.

"So?" Kim said, eyes narrowed. 

"I'm guessing you want a little more than just the basic version," Arthur said, glancing at her scars. "I'm not there yet though. Not even for me." He turned his head a little, so that he could take in his group before he continued. "Not for them for sure."

Kim's lips compressed. "You no wanna give then, ah?"

"I don't," Arthur said. "Because you might not be happy with what you get. So, I'll make you an offer. One of the healing techniques,  at the level I have." He raised a finger. "Or the technique my people have. Low grade, but still better than nothing. But in that case, I want one more thing."

"What lah?"


Kim frowned. "Not saya sayang, me. You want me join you ah?"

"Exactly." He gestured around the room. "And anyone who wants in."


"Because you're running this group without a problem and somehow, managing it." Arthur shook his head. "That can't be easy in any way. You're tough, smart and you think well." A slight hesitation, then he added. "Also, I'm assuming you're here for a bit, till I can get your eye healed."

Kim froze, then said, slowly. "You boleh ah? Heal it."

"I believe so," Arthur replied. "Wouldn't have suggested it otherwise. I intend to keep pushing myself, pushing this. And anything I learn, it goes back to my Clan members." He hesitated, then added, truthfully. "Won't be fast though. This might be years."

"But..." A hand touched her face, the scar rather than her eye. But Arthur knew, she was thinking about it. Passing the rest of the Tower without full vision was hard and likely half the reason she stuck around. As much as the Tower might help with the entire strength differentiation between men and women, there were still innate advantages to being big.  A hand came down, as she looked around, the naked longing having faded away as she remembered where she was. More than a few of her men were looking at her warily, though surprisingly Stabby boy looked happy for her.


"I bring some of my people," she said, firmly, glancing sideways at Stabby boy.

"No problem." Arthur paused, then added. "But you swear to play nice and for me. And I'll be picking your second in charge." She hesitated, then nodded. Arthur stood up, offering his hand to her. "Then we have a deal."

She stood up too, looking at up at him over the table and leaning forwards a little so that she could take his hand. He had to lean over too, what with the height difference. "When you deliver the technique."

"Of course." He released her hand, stepped back and then waved the team with him. They exited, carefully, picking up their weapons on the way out and it was only when they were a few streets down before Arthur found himself laughing, just a little. Mostly from giddy relief, because things could really have gone to hell there.

Sometimes, it was just better to be lucky than good.

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Climbing the Ranks is a LitRPG cultivation novel by Tao Wong that publishes serially on Starlit Publishing. While the whole novel will be free to read, you can purchase a membership to receive chapters weeks in advance of the public release.

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